Wednesday, May 09, 2012

All good things...

Sometimes the better part of a fight is knowing when to walk away. I’ve been in a pitched battle with myself since I started the full-time (forty hours per week) contract job at the end of February. Since that time, I’ve written exactly zilch other than my blog posts. And after last week’s lame effort, I realized I was doing my readers and myself a disservice. I was writing for a deadline, not for a purpose. In the best of cases, those two converge. But not for me, not recently.

I’ve been beating myself up over not writing, which only makes everything worse. What has normally been my life, my escape, has become drudgery and a bludgeon. No more. As of today, I’m giving myself permission not to write. In fact, after this post, I’m not allowing myself to write anything (other than the dreaded paycheck-motivated paper) for at least a week. No WIP edits, no new stories. And no blog posts.

Instead, I’m going to read. Not the screens full of online material I scroll through daily, but books. Real books. I’m going to lose myself in literature. I’m going to read the latest Grafton novel that’s been collecting dust on my shelf for months. I’m going to read whatever rises to the top of my teetering TBR pile, and then I’m going to read some more. I may even give myself a break from social media entirely and devote those mindless hours to still more reading.

What a delicious prospect. I can’t remember the last novel I actually savored, the last non-fiction I read that didn’t require a review or abstract for a class or client.

During that week, I’ll also return to meditation. I’ll find my center, calm the frenzy that fills my brain. When the noise subsides, I’ll consider my lost love for writing, my flickering creative spark. I’ll figure out how to rekindle the flame, or maybe it will spontaneously combust when I stop smothering it with anxiety.

I’ll consider why I love to write, why I must write, and why I haven’t been able to write. I’ll reaffirm my goals, maybe set a few new ones.

I expect I’ll return to my blog eventually, but who knows? I may find my writing veering off in a new direction. Some would say neglecting a small but growing band of loyal readers is career suicide. I say they deserve my best, and I can’t give them that in my current state. After I recharge and refocus, I’ll see where my words take me.

When that happens, I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Thanks for your readership, and for understanding.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


For the first time in sixteen months, Wednesday is nearly over and I haven’t posted a blog entry. Such is the state of my writing life these days.

My life in general, actually. I’ve lost what little control I usually manage to maintain. I blame it on the fact that I’m on a 40-hour-a-week contract job, but deep down, I know that’s a lame excuse. How did I ever work full-time and raise two kids? I honestly don’t know. Dust coated the furniture long before Hubby started floor tile demolition in the entryway. Laundry sits unfolded in a basket. I scramble to vacuum once a week – not nearly enough with three dogs in residence. We eat out far too often because I’m simply too exhausted to come up with menus, shop for groceries, and actually cook. As a result, our healthy-eating lifestyle, so hard to adopt in the first place, has fallen apart. And my body is rebelling, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Other writers manage to work and raise a family and keep house and produce manuscripts. These days, I can’t even squeeze out a few hundred words for a blog. The worst part is that for every day I don’t write, it’s harder to write the next day. Or the next. The empty pages stack up in my mind like a brick wall, sealing me in behind my own fears and uncertainties. I thought I discarded the notion of writer’s block, absorbed all the little tricks we writers use to keep going, but apparently not.

I’m well and truly stuck.

Well-meaning writer friends parrot my words of advice right back at me, words offered so glibly when they found themselves in similar straits: just write! One word, then another. Doesn’t matter what, just start.

So easily said, so hard to accomplish. I hope I’ll be more compassionate next time.

Until then, I guess this is a beginning of sorts, poured out in a rush of emotion in order to ease my mind, allow me to sleep.

Because Wednesday is winding down. It’s nearly midnight. I’m skipping my self-imposed one hour cooling off period between writing and posting. And with this desperate attempt to find a cause, and a cure, I’ll keep my blogging record intact.


Now to convince myself it was worthwhile. For that, tomorrow is another day.